Hong Kong police are searching for a crypto scammer operation after an account was conned of HK$1 million
The 29-year-old victim was duped into accepting fake bank notes in exchange for $127,750 in Tether’s stablecoin USDT.
Sources say the sour deal went down at a shop on Chatham Road South in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Police in Hong Kong are investigating a crime syndicate after a local accountant was fleeced of HK$1 million in Tether during an over-the-counter (OTC) exchange in Tsim Sha Tsui.
According to local media, the accountant was lured to the shop after interacting with an Instagram ad offering high exchange rates. The post included contact information which the victim used to arrive at a basement shop in Chevalier House on Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Sources say the accountant hoped to exchange their $127,750 in Tether’s stablecoin USDT to HK$1 million in an OTC trade. The scammer who impersonated a shop employee offered “a bundle of HK$1,000 banknotes on the counter for payment of the transaction,” said a person familiar with the matter.
The Hong Kong accountant, unaware of the scammer’s plans, transferred $128,040 in Tether to an e-wallet at their behest. With their booty in hand, the fraudster asked to be excused and disappeared from the shop moments later.
The accountant realized they had been swindled and contacted local police on Sunday evening around 10 pm. Authorities are reportedly investigating whether the shop was specifically set up to steal the accountant’s digital currency and how deep the syndicate’s operations run.
Hong Kong’s Crypto Streets
Sunday’s incident is part of a string of crypto scams besieging Hong Kong’s burgeoning digital currency ecosystem. Last month, another accountant lost $3.4 million (HK$27 million) to a crypto investment scheme. A retiree lost nearly $1 million of her personal savings to an investment scam in April. It’s unclear whether cases are unrelated or perpetrated by the same organization.
Hong Kong recently approved licensing laws and rules for crypto operators in bid to standardize the local industry and attract firms amid the uncertain regulatory atmosphere orbiting the U.S. digital asset market.